The Chinese phoenix, also known as Fenghuang, symbolised the union of ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ and thus is commonly associated with harmony. With the corresponding associations of ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ with masculine and feminine, the image of the Chinese phoenix has long been a popular choice for marriage gifts.
The piece has been recovered from the Blue Chrysanthemum shipwreck. The samples recovered from the Blue Chrysanthemum shipwreck are exclusively Ancient Chinese ceramics, predominately Kangxi Period blue and white porcelain, although multi-coloured ceramics and utilitarian wares are also in evidence in the cargo. The blue and white wares are assessed by experts to be excellent examples of early Chinese Kangxi blue and white ceramic, produced in the famous porcelain centre of Jingdezhen in the Jiangsu Province. Jingdezhen kilns made porcelain over two millennia, since the Han Dynasty period, reaching their technical excellence during the early Qing Dynasty. The very high quality cobalt blue colouring seen here is distinctive of the Kangxi Period porcelains, also referred to as ‘gem blue’ or ‘kingfisher blue’.